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Operating since 2002, our in-house network of core-businesses, collaborative partners and creative community allows us to partner with clients to better navigate an ever-shifting world. Such unique challenges require unique solutions, and so our year-round program of live events, activations and creative collaborations allow us to best meet the challenges of our clients, community and the collective space between them.
It was a question we knew we could solve through unique strengths: Dentsu’s untapped business intelligence from brokering billions in sports partnerships together with Semi Permanent’s proven capabilities delivering world-class experiences. We were to research, design and produce a new venture that would enable a sports industry to realize innovation at an unforeseen scale.
This new venture should be able to be nuanced towards almost any sporting context around the globe, routinely enabling a sporting world fit for the times we live in.
Sport is fuelled by creativity. Athletes regularly redefine what humans are capable of, while the designers, technologists and brands of the world have made it their business to continually enable them to do so. These ultra-competitive industries are hungry for insights from increasingly unique sources, and we saw an opportunity to use what we know about design to bring them all together.
What is World Sports Creativity Sessions?
WSCS (World Sports Creativity Sessions), launched as a two-day live experience exploring how business, creativity, technology and design would influence the sports industry beyond 2020.
The overall direction of the event required a huge amount of sensitivity and care—necessary when dealing with an entity as important as the Olympic Games and a culture as nuanced as that of Japan. But our hypothesis was simple: by putting everyone in the room together—athletes, designers, futurists and creatives—we could force a feedback loop where such leaders could envision and enable a future that would benefit everyone in the room (and the billions of consumers, brands and fans they represent too).
«Sports have always been right at the forefront of the social change in America. Each athlete has a brand. Each athlete has social media content. Your relevance isn’t what you do on the track or field. Your relevance is what you ultimately leave.»
Carl Lewis, athlete
Scheduled for May 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic presented a serious challenge for hosting a live event. So in collaboration with Dentsu, WSCS was quickly adapted to suit updated needs—a two day live broadcast that would unite the sports and creative communities at a time they needed it most. We’re immensely proud of adapting our live experience into something just as tangible in the digital realm, and are excited to develop WSCS for a range of complimentary sporting brands and events including the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The program featured a diverse mix of speakers: including legends Carl Lewis, Carli Lloyd and Shaun White; visionaries Willo Perron, Chris Milk and Viktoria Modesta; explorer Chris Burkard; refugee athlete Asif Sultani and emerging star Kolohe Andino, delivering a message of unique importance to a very specific audience. Weaving personal interests, educated opinion and personal hope for the future of their respective industries, the talks were inspiring, thought-provoking and useful for an audience of sports industry decision makers and fans.
The creative industries are notoriously homogenous. Diverse talent is abundant, but opportunities are few if you don’t fit a certain mould. Google wanted to do something about it, and so started Rare—a year-round Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program by and for underrepresent voices.
DEI programs have proliferated across industries as the world seeks to rectify systemic injustice and bias towards minorities of all backgrounds. Designing the Rare experience allowed us to tap into two decades of experience design and pivot it into programming that was both collaborative and relevant to the community we were creating for.
Being Rare means embracing my differences to drive innovation within creative work, and to move workplaces towards a more progressive, inclusive future.»
APAC Rare participant, 2020
Since its foundation in 2017, Semi Permanent has designed and produced Rare’s evolving program of talks, workshops, mentorship opportunities and research projects to increase DEI initiatives both internally at Google and in the creative industries at large. Rare’s vision of diversity spans race, gender, sexuality, neurodiversity and physical ability, and we’ve been proud to help this movement evolve in terms of how those stories are championed in the years since.
Making use of an intelligently punk graphic identity from MAUD and deep insights from the team at Google, an emphasis on connectivity underpinned our philosophy from day one. Spatial design emphasised collaboration and conversation between participants; practitioners were hand-picked to enable a cohesive group experience across both physical/digital experiences; and talent was curated (in collaboration with inclusion agency Utopia) to inspire and enable them to carve their own space in a brave new world.
«DEI initiatives require sensitivity and precision in order to faithfully address the landscape and create genuine, tangible impact. Semi Permanent’s expertise and attention to detail helped Rare set a benchmark for meaningful change in the field and grow into a program that is truly global in approach.»
Tara McKenty, Rare co-founder and Google creative director
Rare grew quickly, and in 2019 we supported its global expansion by designing and producing physical activations and experiences at major creative festivals in London (D&AD), Cannes (Lions), New York (Advertising Week) and Sydney (Semi Permanent), as well as Rare-initiated executive meet ups and workshops in Las Vegas and Tokyo. We deployed our design, storytelling, curation and production credentials to bring each city to life with custom programming and design, while overseeing digital campaigns to bring it all together globally.
«There were lots of small learnings along the way, but I think the big headline material for me was ‘You CAN do it, and the world will be a better place if you do.'»
EMEA Rare participant, 2020
In 2015, Semi Permanent collaborated with iconic musicians Radiohead on a retrospective exhibition, ‘The Panic Office’, told through the lens of 2500+ pieces of art by the bands resident artist Stanley Donwood.
Designed as a truly immersive experience, The Panic Office was a journey through the archives, supported by a bespoke 2-week long soundscape by frontman Thom Yorke.
Fuelled by a global media reach of over 360 million including Bloomberg TV, Wired, and Pitchfork, as well as local titles Sydney Morning Herald, Pedestrian, The Guardian and more, the first edition was spread across a 5,000sqm space, accommodating attendance of close to 20,000 guests in its first week alone.
Semi Permanent will produce a second edition in Porto, Portugal in 2022 as part of the inaugural Semi Permanent Porto event.
“It took Bell six years to convince Donwood to do the show. He never had time, but finally the planets aligned. The artist knew he had to go through his «completely scrambled» archives and get them into order, and Bell flew over to meet him last year and talk him round.”
Jacqui Taffel – Sydney Morning Herald
Dropbox commissioned us to develop a content series, celebrating unique individuals at the forefront of their respective industries. We called it ‘Game Changers’.
With ownership across end-to-end development and production, we drew upon our extensive global network to recruit Kelly Sawdon, Ace Hotel; Tom Windish, Paradigm Talent Agency; and Loh Lik Peng, Unlisted Collection Singapore to front the video features.
With award-winning studio Ways & Means, we produced a cinematic, three-part series of full-length films and social media edits. Content was heroed across Dropbox digital channels, global editorial platform ‘Work in Progress’, and internal conference presentations and B2B sales tools.